Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D printing finds its 'sweet spot' through 'nifty shades of gray'

Date:
August 4, 2014
Source:
University of Sheffield
Summary:
A 'less is more' approach has enabled engineers to make 3-D printed parts lighter and stronger, using methods that will also make 3-D printing faster and more economical.

A 'less is more' approach has enabled UK engineers to make 3D printed parts lighter and stronger, using methods that will also make 3D printing faster and more economical.

Related Articles


The technique uses a cutting edge process known as high speed sintering (HSS). Unlike commercial 3D printers that use lasers, HSS marks the shape of the part onto powdered plastic using heat-sensitive ink, which is then activated by an infra-red lamp to melt the powder layer by layer and so build up the 3D part.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield have discovered they can control the density and strength of the final product by printing the ink at different shades of grey and that the best results are achieved by using less ink than is standard.

"All HSS work to date has involved printing 100 per cent black, but this doesn't get the best results," explains Professor of Manufacturing Engineering Neil Hopkinson, from the University of Sheffield. "We found that there is a point at which, as the ink levels increase, the mechanical properties start to reduce. This enabled us to identify the 'sweet spot' at which you can gain maximum strength with the minimum amount of ink."

The researchers are able to manipulate the density of the material by up to 40 per cent, opening the door to the possibility of 3D printing parts with differing densities at different points. This would enable parts to have greatly reduced weight but equivalent mechanical strength -- for example by having a dense outer shell and a lighter inner structure.

"3D printing has focused on optimising the shape of a part in order to reduce its weight and still retain its mechanical properties," says Professor Hopkinson, who will announce the findings today (5 August 2014) at the Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium in Austin, Texas. "Printing in greyscale will enable us to optimise the material instead, in a process that would be feasible for commercial manufacture. And by making parts with different densities out of one material, we can also make recycling more straightforward."

The ability to maximise strength while reducing weight means the technique would have obvious applications in the aerospace and automotive industries. But there are other sectors where it could bring benefits -- one application envisaged by Professor Hopkinson is in sports footwear, where soles are currently made from dual density foams and could be printed in one material using the new technique.

Although still in development, HSS already holds great promise for industrial use as the process can be scaled to work at comparable speeds to conventional high volume processes, such as injection moulding. The new findings will further reduce the costs of manufacturing using HSS, by reducing the volume of ink energy required to make a product.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VHBNHHstNY


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Sheffield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Sheffield. "3-D printing finds its 'sweet spot' through 'nifty shades of gray'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804202132.htm>.
University of Sheffield. (2014, August 4). 3-D printing finds its 'sweet spot' through 'nifty shades of gray'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804202132.htm
University of Sheffield. "3-D printing finds its 'sweet spot' through 'nifty shades of gray'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804202132.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Dancing, spinning and fighting robots are showing off their agility at "Robocomp" in Krakow. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Lowe’s is testing out what it’s describing as a robotic shopping assistant in one of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores in California. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins